008. Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood
Publication: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (June 12, 2012), eARC, 320pp / ISBN 0385742010
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Read: January 14-15, 2012 (holy crap it’s been a while)
Source: NetGalley (thank you!)
Summary from Amazon:
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother’s death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family’s homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock’s daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there’s more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.
Alright, I suppose I should have known. YA paranormal romances and I have a rocky history, and I nearly always find problems in them that I end up fixating on, which ruins the rest of the story for me. Lies Beneath is no exception, unfortunately.
I wanted to read Lies Beneath because of several reasons:
1. it’s got mermaids! Killer mermaids! I love mermaids, and killer ones are unusual enough to be very exciting.
2. it stars a dude! YA paranormal romances very rarely star dudes as the sole POV. Exciting!
3. The dude is the killer mermaid. Yay!
Unfortunately…all that good stuff couldn’t override the bad stuff. It suffers from a lot of common “these things in YA PNR really irritate Anastasia” problems, especially in the romance department.The beginning was very strong, although it did the Twilight thing where the “bad” paranormal character wasn’t really bad, because he only very rarely killed humans or whatever. So the killer mermaid isn’t so killer. Fine! I was still interested enough to keep reading, so I did just that.
The major problems started when the romance itself started. The romance, it seemed to me, happened on the turn of a dime. The heroine’s the kind of character who should have had enough street smarts to not get involved in a relationship with a serial killer (albeit one who stopped killing?), but no. It’s like she lost all common sense when confronted with hero’s immense beauty– which, btw, is what humans tend to do when they see mermaids, so the mermaids can eat them! But somehow I don’t think “she was lured in by my good looks” is the same thing as “omg we’re soulmates.” It was treated that way, though! Which was irritating.
There was also an issue with the ages between the hero and heroine: he’s technically somewhere in his 40s, I think, but mentally he’s 17? And she’s, of course, a teenage girl. I don’t know– I understand the different between physical age and mental age, but it was still slightly skeevy.
And THEN there came the death blow (slight spoilers, I think): a mermaid’s appetite for humans can be fixed via true love. Apparently. Because they’re missing love in their souls or something and that makes them want to kill humans? Ugh.
So, yes, this isn’t the book for me. I like some of the elements that are in the story, and I even like most of the writing. But I don’t like the romance and I don’t like that both characters turned into turnipheads (even if that IS what happens when you fall in “love”) and since the romance is the main point of the book I think you can see where I’m going with this.
If you like YA PNR, if you like forbidden romances and stories about negligibly bad heroes turning good through the power of pure teenage girl love, then you’d like Lies Beneath. If you just like stories about mermaids, you might like Lies Beneath, too. But if you, like me, have issues with most YA PNR tropes and aren’t necessarily enamoured with love at first sight stories, then maybe it’s not for you.
It was okay.
Book Addicts @ Idaho Statesman: “There also seemed to be a couple of scenes that weren’t important because they didn’t add to the plot what-so-ever and then were never mentioned again. And WEIRD things happened in them, and in the “real” world, the events would have been brought up and shunned. (I put “real” in quotes because in a REAL world, Calder’s fishtail of a rear end would’ve been kicked to the curb and would’ve been served with a restraining order by the biggest, baddest, meanest looking delivery person I could find).”
GalleySmith: “What I liked best about Greenwood Brown’s vision of mermaids was the fact that she didn’t fall into trap of writing Princess Ariel-like saccharine sweet characterization . I’m not usually one for the darker stories but I quite enjoyed the evil nature she created for these merpeople. They weren’t all killing for sport, thankfully, but rather they were called to the death of others. It felt much like an addiction as they found the pleasure in feeding off emotions to survive. The overall picture she painted of the species was amazing and allowed for strong development in Calder’s character particularly.”
Find some more here. I think there’s a blog tour going on, so there should be lots.
I checked my Goodreads notes for this book and apparently when I started reading it I thought it’d be like a horror-fantasy kind of romance? I’d LOVE that. Anyone know any book like that? Or a gothic romance fantasy, maybe?
Edit: My mom said to mention that we lived right next to Lake Superior when I was little. Yes! We did! The part we were next to was all sandy (and cold) with bristly grass (plus it was cold) and sometimes lady bugs would swarm all over the place (and also it was cold). Sometimes if you looked hard enough you could see ships floating around at the back!
No mermaids, though.
The author’s photo comes from Goodreads. It’s not mine! Book cover comes from Amazon. It’s not mine, either.